Holiday Activities – things to do during your stay
It has often been suggested that holidays in North Cyprus are all about relaxing. Well, it is certainly true that this is one of the best places in the world to unwind, but if you want something more active than sunbathing, then there is plenty here to thrill and delight you, or occupy your attention! For young and old, active or leisurely, come and find out all this magical island has to offer.
Not perhaps the most active of pursuits, but for enthusiasts, North Cyprus is a real treasure trove! There are over 340 different species of birds here, some of which are unique to the island. Some areas are also famed for migratory species, with in excess of 300 visiting at certain times of the year and in spring it is possible to see almost anything. To the north east of the island, parts of the Karpaz Peninsula are famed for migratory and endemic birds. To the west, the mountain reservoirs of Gonyeli and Kanilkoy are also excellent spots. There are local bird watching groups to show you where to go and the birds to look for.
A number of companies operate from Kyrenia harbour, providing sailing trips along the coast. Varying in overall time, most offer a number of stops during the voyage, where you can snorkel or if you are fit enough, swim to the nearby beach. Most trips provide a cooked lunch on-board to satisfy the heartiest appetite. Virtually all the cruise boats have a sundeck, where you can just lie back and soak up the rays. Take plenty of sun-cream though! For the romantic at heart, there are also now a few evening cruises, where you can watch the sun set over the Mediterranean with a meal provided.
Though it might come as a surprise to many, Northern Cyprus has a real world-class go-karting track, constructed and run to true international standards. There are five different track modes, the longest of which is some 1200 metres. Two different karts are available to hire, one suitable for 7 to 14 year olds, and a full racing model for adults, capable of reaching speeds up to 90kmph! The track has floodlighting for night racing and is fully compliant with relevant international safety regulations. As you would expect of Northern Cyprus, there is also a restaurant, café and barbecue.
With a superb year-round climate, this is an excellent golfing destination. The superb Korineum Golf and Spa resort takes full advantage of this, with world-class facilities and a stunning course. See the ‘Golf Holidays’ page for full details.
There are a number of riding clubs and stables in Northern Cyprus, offering everything from lessons for beginners, to full-day mountain tours with a picnic for experienced riders. Riding through the Kyrenia Mountain Range you can truly feel at one with nature.
PAINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
The varied scenery, ancient villages and historical monuments ensure that there is always something interesting and beautiful to capture here and the Mediterranean sunlight seems to add a real depth to colours. For groups of painters of all abilities, we can arrange teaching from a qualified and experienced arts and crafts specialist in the locality, whose wide-ranging local knowledge and artistic expertise will ensure a truly inspirational holiday. Many writers and artists have made North Cyprus their home over the centuries and you will find something to inspire you almost everywhere. For photographers, the island is a true delight. Set your alarm clock ridiculously early one day, take water and plenty of energy, and climb to the top of St. Hilarion castle to capture the morning views in incredible clarity. For all artists, the spring and autumn months are probably the best. The real summer heat can be tiring, especially sitting for long periods.
See more of the scenery than you could ever have imagined! Tandem paragliding is very popular here and there is a first-class paragliding centre. The journey starts in the Kyrenia Mountains, to the west of St. Hilarion castle and at some 2500 metres above sea level. Just a few steps down a gentle slope and you will be airborne. The pilots are experienced and trained, and will brief you thoroughly before the flight. You will be able to decide whether you want to just take in the incredible views, or experience a real adrenaline rush! The landing site is on the coastline near Kyrenia. Photos, videos and T-shirts are available. Flights are made virtually every day during the season, but it is best to book in advance to ensure a flight. Please contact your local A1 Cyprus representative in resort.
The crystal-clear Mediterranean waters and the varied marine life make Northern Cyprus a great place for both beginners and experienced divers. See the ‘Diving’ page for full details.
A number of beaches in the Karpaz Peninsula are nesting sites for green and loggerhead turtles. Females come ashore to lay their eggs between early June and early August and hatching is around fifty days after. Both the species are on the endangered list, making protection of these sites of extreme importance and some of the beaches are closed to visitors at certain times of the year. The Society for the Protection of Turtles has an active presence in North Cyprus and they are based at Alagadi Beach, a few miles to the east of Kyrenia. At times between the start of June and the middle of September, they take small parties of visitors to watch nesting and hatching. There is intense interest and the protected nature of the beaches make this the only realistic way to experience one of nature’s ultimate wonders, so if you are planning on trying to join one of the groups, get down to the project’s headquarters as early as possible during your stay to book in advance.
There are plenty of places with superb walks here. With the weather dry for most of the year everything is possible, from a gentle stroll along a hillside path, to a serious five-day guided trek. Walking in the summer is beautiful, but for serious distances, spring, autumn and winter are most suitable. In spring, the meadows are full of wild flowers and there are a number of orchid walks (click here for details of guided orchid walks). Throughout the year there are organised walks, or if you prefer to make your own way, there are a few excellent books with full details and maps of paths. Around Bellapais, you can follow in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart along original crusader paths, or you can enjoy some spectacular scenery along some of the mountain trails.
There are many beaches along the coastline with companies offering water sports facilities. West of Kyrenia and in particular around Famagusta are excellent for windsurfing. Again to the west, there are a number of water sports centres, offering wake boarding, water skiing, dinghy hire and banana boat rides. Jet skiing is available from one or two places, but you will need to be over 25 and have a full driving license to hire one.